7651 S. Jeffery Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60649


Fax: 773.721.9106

Mr. Willie Lee Topps, Sr.

Born Into Time: April 10, 1919
Born Into Eternity: December 03, 2017

Willie Lee Topps, Sr. was born to Samuel Topps and LouBerda Hill on April 10, 1919 in Tangipahoa, Louisiana. After the passing of both of his parents, he was raised by family members in Louisiana. Racism and injustice forced him at the age of 14 years old to escape the deep south on freight trains heading to Chicago. It was here in the Windy City that he made his life and met his wife Cozetta B. Archer thru her sister, who was his sister-in-law.

Willie always said that when he met Cozetta he knew that she would be his wife. They married and were blessed with four children. A member of Antioch Baptist Church, along with his wife, he remained a faithful member until health and age would no longer allow him to participate in regular church services.

Willie loved his family, his home, growing his tomatoes, eating Cozetta’s sweet potato pies and hot sauce. Many times, during his working career, he often held three to four jobs ensuring that his family was well provided for. His children were taken care of and had everything they needed. He bought three homes in his life time, was well liked by everyone he encountered, was a no nonsense kind of man and would give you the shirt off his back if you were his family or friend. He took good care of his wife’s family.

Willie was a plumber by trade but held many different jobs (Tootsie Roll, Hyson, Joslyn companies). He was not afraid of hard work and often told stories of the war where he lived in his boots for over a year. After hearing those stories – you knew it to be true he was not afraid to work.

Willie entered the military and served in both the Army and Air Force during his service career. He was most proud of his ability to travel all over the world and serve his country. Staff Sergeant Topps was the last of the World War II tankers from the pioneer 78th Tank Battalion, re-designated the 758th Tank Battalion in 1941. At Camp Hood, he served as cadre for the 761st Tank Battalion and trained them in all phases of armored warfare. In combat, he returned to the 758th Tank Battalion where they supported the 92nd Infantry Division (the Buffalo Division) in Italy.

After the war, as a member of the Chicago Chapter of the 761st Tank Battalion & Allied Veterans Association, Willie met regularly with chapter members in his basement. This “man cave” became their headquarters adorned with memorabilia depicting their combat history. They conducted chapter business and discussed their experiences echoing humor and heroism. They began with about 30 members in the 1950’s and by 2006, the group had declined to seven members. In 2016, Willie became 758th’s sole survivor and said at that time, “Father Time and Mother Nature is beating the living hell out of us”. At age 98 years, he joins his comrades - “soldiers at rest”.

Willie was an amazing husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, great great grandfather, brother, uncle, neighbor and friend. He joins his wife Cozetta (who preceded him in death), and leaves behind an amazing legacy – children Juanita, Loretta, LouBerda and Willie Jr. (Tamara). A host of grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren, along with nieces, nephews, neighbors, co-workers, friends, acquaintances, caretakers, his barber, Kent Saulsberry, pedicurists Regina and Tiffany; masseuse, Ron and three special caregivers, Raven, Torrey and Joy that supported him in his later years.

Public Viewing:

Monday, December 11, 2017
12:00PM - 5:00PM
Cage Memorial Chapel
7651 S Jeffery Blvd
Chicago, IL 60649

Service Information:

Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Visitation / Family Hour:
10:00 AM
Service Time:
11:00 AM
Cage Memorial Chapel
7651 S. Jeffery Blvd
Chicago, IL 60649


Lincoln Cemetery
12300 S. Kedzie
Chicago, IL 60655


#1 Phyllis &Ray Soriano 2017-12-07 16:38
Bring a neighbor from 103rd street has many special Nd precious memories. A huge one with Mr snd Mrs Topps. A beautiful and loving couple who instilled honor, dignity and hard work in their lives and their children. MR Topps always had a smile along with words that always one ponder. I suppose these were words of wisdom, that we all need to hear. We are so proud to have known you Mr Topps. So you join your wife cause she has been waiting. You are truly a memorable person. May God bless you and the family you leave behind to carry on !!

Phyllis’s and Raymond Soriano. 10323 King Drive

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